ABU DHABI SMART CITY SUMMIT SECOND EDITION KICKS-OFF

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“SHAPING THE CITIES OF THE FUTURE”

Abu Dhabi, UAE: The second edition of the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit, the largest event of its kind in the region in the field of smart city development, kicked off today under the slogan, “Shapping the Cities of the Future”, with the participation of more than 25 local and federal government agencies and the presence of more than 400 specialists, officials and industry leaders. Participants, thought leaders and policy makers, as well as a selection of international speakers, will be examining the best practices in smart city development and the key challenges facing smart cities around the world.

The two-day summit is being hosted under the patronage of the Department of Municipalities and Transportation, DMT,  with the theme, “Shaping the Cities of the Future”, on 23rd and 24th November 2021, and is providing a physical platform for dialogue between local and federal government agencies, specialists, experts, officials, leaders, strategists and policy makers, as well as governmental and private organisations, to discuss the best practices for developing smart cities and addressing challenges, contributing to enriching participants’ knowledge and developing action plans that will lead to smarter and more efficient solutions.   

The first day of the summit was launched in the presence of His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, in the presence of His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, alongside leaders and experts from government agencies and the private sector, in conjunction with the inauguration of the technical exhibition organised on the sidelines of the summit, which highlights innovative projects and solutions of government agencies, while international companies present the latest developments in modern technologies in the field of smart cities.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Al Olama said: “I am honoured and pleased to participate in this exceptional summit, which is a pioneering event providing innovative solutions that are being worked on in the UAE and Abu Dhabi, showcasing the investment and development so far in future city applications in order to provide a smart infrastructure, setting a leading global example in improving the quality of life, providing smart solutions with a focus on community needs and aspirations, and providing proactive services in vital areas that have had a significant impact on the UAE’s success in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic.”

His Excellency added: “We have recently come through a phase that has been considered the first of its kind in modern history, one which has had an impact on the way of life and economy of countries all over the world. This challenge has given us the opportunity to put all our experiences and capacities into practice, through cooperation and joint work, and I hope that everyone’s participation in this summit will meet the aspirations of our society and contribute to our leadership’s path to achieve the best quality of life, strengthening the UAE’s position as a pioneer in the field of cities of the future.”

Her Excellency Josephine Teo, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-Charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, in her virtual participation during the opening, said: “It is an honor to be here today. Let me first congratulate the UAE on your upcoming Golden Jubilee on 2nd December. Since attaining independence in 1971, the UAE has made remarkable progress and there is so much to celebrate on this joyous occasion.”

H.E. added: “Our cities share warm ties and similar visions of building a smart city to better the lives of our people. Although our cities are not exactly alike, there is much we can learn from one another. I hope my sharing today of Singapore’s experience in smart city development will be useful for Abu Dhabi as both cities forge ahead in our vision to become leading smart cities in the world.

“When we think of smart cities, we often think of advanced technologies in areas such as smart health, smart buildings and smart transport. But, in building smart cities, we should always remember that it’s not just about using the latest technologies, it is also about making sure that we solve the real world problems that our cities face, improve the lives of our citizens and help our businesses thrive. For my sharing today, I therefore wish to define a smart city, not by the technology it uses, but by whether it achieves the desired outcomes.”

His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, welcomed the participants and guests in his opening speech, saying: “There is no doubt that recent global events, have changed many of our lives and have drawn new aspirations for governmental visions across the world, which has been an added incentive for us to achieve more and test all the capabilities, the latest technologies and artificial intelligence, to better serve the people at a time when we are witnessing an unprecedented stage in modern human history. This stage invites us all to redefine the way we live, work and function, to think, work and innovate together, and to use all technologies for the progress of our societies and economies.”

His Excellency continued: “Our late father, Sheikh Zayed, once said: “We were totally convinced from the beginning that people are the basis of any civilised process and that humans are at the centre of any real progress“. These valuable words of wisdom have a tremendous impact on our policies and programmes. Today, the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit is a valuable opportunity to work in line with the vision of our leaders and our national strategy, which aims to strengthen the UAE’s well-deserved position on a global scale, setting a benchmark for achieving societal well-being and modernity, and placing human beings at the centre of all future operations and plans.”

H.E. added “This year’s summit will seek to consolidate the efforts of government entities and their effective contribution on the ground, transforming UAE cities into people-centric integrated cities of the future, by examining regional and global best practices in the field of smart cities, in addition to our continued efforts and the establishment of effective and strong partnerships with the private sector to support Abu Dhabi’s position as a pioneer in this field, and to contribute to our leadership’s vision of finding solutions to climate change, in line with the UAE’s selection as host of the United Nations Climate Conference, COP28.”

His Excellency Major-General Maktoum Ali Al Sharifi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Police, highlighted the importance of the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit, which aligns with the directions of the leadership towards a bright and promising future in the country’s next fifty-year journey. H.E. stressed that the nation’s achievements are the result of the unlimited care and support provided by the wise leadership, led by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

H.E. added: “At this summit, we are pleased to recall one of Abu Dhabi’s most outstanding achievements by continuing to top the list of the world’s safest cities according to the “Numbeo” index, to positively reflect the leadership and excellence of the path of giving and achievements in various fields at a global level.” H.E. pointed out that the “Safe City” system has succeeded in providing innovative services, as it comprises about 14 technical systems that include security and traffic systems based on the foundations of integration and interdependence in artificial intelligence techniques.

H.E. explained that Abu Dhabi Police is forward-looking and keeps pace with the latest technologies in the transformation to smart government and the application of artificial intelligence, which strengthens its continuous efforts towards improvement and development to take security measures in accordance with advanced international best practices and achieve new positive indicators in maintaining security and stability. He highlighted the continuous efforts of Abu Dhabi Police to leverage advanced technologies to provide services that exceed customer expectations and use them under the supervision of qualified national cadres to paint a bright picture of the security and safety process and reassure the community.

His Excellency Eng. Hassan Mohamed Juma Al Mansouri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure Development for Infrastructure and Transport Affairs, said, “The UAE is one of the first countries in the world to support the transformation towards smart cities by applying global best practices and leveraging innovation and artificial intelligence to look into the future and promote creativity in various sectors, including those related to smart cities,  in line with the future goals of the UAE leadership and the needs of the communities.” 

H.E. added: “At the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, we aim to keep pace with the government’s aspirations for the next fifty years, developing flexible work plans and ambitious initiatives and projects that effectively contribute to achieving global leadership in all areas, including those related to smart cities.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE; TRANSPORT, SAFETY, AND SECURITY IN THE CITIES OF THE FUTURE

An overview of strategic plans to develop a smart Abu Dhabi was the main highlight of the first day of the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit 2021. A list of key topics was addressed through several roundtables and panel discussions on themes such as AI solutions in the cities of the future, transforming towards innovation, using advanced technologies to address challenges and providing better and smart services to communities.

The summit stands out by addressing all areas of artificial intelligence, smart operations, projects and applications, which makes it the ideal platform for broader and more diverse dialogues on smart city development. The conference sessions focus on smart transformation, enhancing smart investment, building business models and exploring global dynamic changes in the sector.

Professor Samer Madanat, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), attended the summit where he delivered an academic address focusing on the transport and smart mobility sector. In addition, Saif Ghubash Almarri, Director – Land Transport Affairs, MOEI, shared his views on the UAE’s national smart mobility strategy. 

Professor Derek Woodgate, President and Chief Futurist at Future Labs USA, took the audience on a journey to the future with smart safety and security applications, smart driving and control centres. 

Major Eng. Ahmed Surour Al Shamsi, Head of Safe City Department, Abu Dhabi Police and Dr. Eng. Humaid Saif Alshamsi, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Applications, Abu Dhabi Police, showcased urban security management and artificial intelligence, as well as innovative ways and solutions provided by the department to achieve the highest levels of security for the emirate’s residents. In addition, a presentation on artificial intelligence in Civil Defence operations was given by Lieutenant Colonel Issa Abdulla Almarzouqi, Operations Manager, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence. Lola Ortiz Sánchez, Director General of Planning and Mobility Infrastructure for the City of Madrid, participated in a case study on the sustainable urban mobility plan.

The summit welcomed participation from international companies who discussed artificial intelligence, cloud systems and 5G to enable the transformation of smart cities, including a presentation by Faisal Ameer Malik – Chief Technology Officer – Enterprise Business, Huawei Middle East, and a session entitled, “Cybersecurity in the IoT”, by Cisco. 

A further presentation on the implementation of the “Scoot” adaptive traffic system in Abu Dhabi was also shared by the ITC, Integrated Transport Centre, while a case study entitled, “Security of AI Functions in Avs” was presented by Professor Muhammad Shafique, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New York University Abu Dhabi, along with a presentation on “Achieving Smart Public Transportation through Mobility AI” by Samer Alish, Director – MENA, Streamax. 

Microsoft also gave a presentation on cyber security during the summit, alongside multiple innovation workshops involving UAE University, New York University Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University.

Injazat, the summit’s panel sponsor, highlighted their Smart City and industrial solutions in public security, transportation, and healthcare sectors. Commenting on the company’s involvement, the CEO of Injazat, Ussama Dahabiyeh, said; “As a homegrown technology champion, Injazat is proud to contribute towards realising Abu Dhabi’s goals of becoming a Smart City. Through digital transformation and technology, we can positively impact communities and help them thrive by optimising city functions, supporting economic growth, and improving all aspects of living. This summit is instrumental in highlighting the advances that can be achieved through Smart Cities, and underlines the need for  collaboration between the public and private sector; together, we can create the future, utilising best practices and technology, thereby empowering human achievement.”

The summit also featured a series of parallel sessions, and discussions were held among participants on current situations, understanding and preparing for the future of mobility and inter-city traffic, in addition to the roundtable discussions focusing on harnessing advanced technologies to make Abu Dhabi the safest city in the world, with the participation of experts and specialists aiming to forecast the future needs of different sectors and achieve a futuristic vision for all cities.

Jett Yang, CEO of Uberbinder, said:  “With Uberbinder, we aim to build a better world by transforming the way we construct and repair concrete and asphalt. These essential building materials – two of the most widely used manufactured materials on the planet — are highly energy intensive, and responsible for more than 10% of all man-made greenhouse emissions worldwide, equivalent to half a billion cars and trucks. Uberbinder offers a more energy efficient, durable, and cost effective way to produce concrete and asphalt, which can eliminate dependence on billions of dollars of fossil fuels and cut related carbon emissions by up to 90%. We are delighted to be part of Smart Cities, as much to present what we hope will be our contribution to the cities of the future, as to learn from and collaborate with others.”

Future Cities partnership

During the summit’s first day of activities, the DMT signed several Memoranda of Understanding as part of the Department’s efforts to support cooperation with the private sector to help build and develop integrated and sustainable urban communities that will enhance digital solutions that improve the quality of life in Abu Dhabi and support the vision of smart cities.

The DMT and Bayanat, a G42 company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance the use of SAR (Synthetic-aperture radar) and HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites) technologies to support the management of smart cities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and to promote the research and application of artificial intelligence to support operations within the scope of municipalities and the Integrated Transport Centre. Through this strategic partnership, both parties will study and analyse geographic system platforms to develop solutions and applications in areas such as the Internet of Things, IoT, GeoGenius and Digital Twin.

Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat said: “It was a pleasure taking part in this year’s summit and contributing to the realization of a visionary smart city. As a market leader in predictive geospatial intelligence, Bayanat is actively involved in the development and expansion of autonomous vehicles, and it was a proud moment to officially launch the pilot phase of Bayanat’s Taxi project, offering unmanned taxi services on Yas Island. We are also excited to announce the signing of an MoU between Bayanat and the DMT whereby both parties will cooperate to develop Earth Observation capabilities incorporating the latest applications in SAR and HAPS.”

Meanwhile, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the DMT and Huawei to implement measures to increase efficiency in the information technology, smart cities and information security sectors at the municipal and transport centre level in accordance, in line with international best practices. The MoU, signed by Dr. Omar Al Shaiba Al Marri, Acting Executive Director Information Technology Affairs Sector, DMT, and Jiawei Liu, CEO of Huawei, will also support the development of training programmes to enhance the capabilities and skills of employees of DMT and its subsidiaries, while providing innovative solutions via smart systems, applications and networks, developing the information technology and information security sectors, and discussing frameworks to support the development of municipal and transport service delivery mechanisms, promoting smart city initiatives.

Jiawei Liu, CEO of Huawei UAE, said, “We are pleased to cooperate with the Department of Municipalities and Transport in their continued development of sustainable smart cities. The UAE is reaching remarkable milestones in this sector, and with Abu Dhabi’s ambitious plans to implement artificial intelligence technologies in all vital sectors and bring the visions of smart cities to life, we see this cooperation as an opportunity to achieve more and contribute to this success, reiterating Huawei’s commitment to support the UAE’s national plans and Abu Dhabi’s vision of becoming a leading global Smart City.”

ITC, an affiliate of DMT, and G42 sign a further Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in accelerating cloud-powered digital transformation in Abu Dhabi, signed by His Excellency Abdullah Al Marzouqi, Director-General of the Integrated Transport Centre and Saleh Abdulla AL Abdooli, Managing Director of G42 Cloud and G42 Communication. 

Future Projects

The Department of Municipalities and Transport and its affiliated entities presented a range of projects during the summit, including the Artificial Intelligence Distortion Monitoring System for General Appearance and Infrastructure, which was designed by Al Dhafrah Region Municipality to monitor distortions in order to keep pace with technological development, anticipate the future, and make proactive plans to provide the best services to the community. The system works through a camera installed on a vehicle and connected to an artificial intelligence system that works in a continuous learning process, with the aim of stimulating effective control of public appearance, public health, parking and transportation, and sustainably addressing any distortions, thus contributing to the well-being and happiness of society.

The DMT took the opportunity to present an overview of the Abu Dhabi “Digital Twin” project, which, when implemented, aims to create a digital representation of the entire emirate of Abu Dhabi and build a virtual reality version through the latest strategic projects and interactive applications that support the principles of smart cities, so that accurate three-dimensional geospatial data is provided from the master plans, down to the internal and external details of buildings, using the latest technologies to provide and use digital data and analysis to assist decision makers.

The Integrated Transport Centre, in collaboration with Bayanat a subsidiary of Group 42, the pioneering artificial intelligence and cloud computing company, revealed at the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit its self-driving vehicle and the launch date of the first pilot phase of “Txai”, a new service that utilizes self-driving taxis to transport passengers on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

The DMT is organizing and managing the second edition of the summit in line with the Department’s strategic map and the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, which represents the new direction on which the country’s future services, sectors and infrastructure will depend. The summit is developing the frameworks and supporting ambitious plans for smart cities in the emirate, reviewing the latest technological developments and innovations from both public and private sectors, in addition to ensuring the availability of a world-class infrastructure capable of supporting investments in modern technologies in roads, parks, recreational and infrastructural projects. 

Key governmental partners are part of the summit activities, including the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, Ministry of Interior, Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, Department of Municipalities and Transport, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, Abu Dhabi Civil Defence, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Abu Dhabi Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market Authority, Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Center, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Ports, Al Ain City Municipality, Al Ain Distribution Company, Al Dhafrah Region Municipality, Masdar and Tadweer.

The summit’s key sponsors include Bayanat, Cisco, Huawei, Foresight Group, UBERBINDER, Streamax Technology, Software AG, Injazat, Tahaluf Al Emarat, Consent Group, EE Consulting AG and PTV Group.

About the Department of Municipalities and Transport:

The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) was established by Law No. 30 of 2019 and is the entity responsible for managing the urban planning and transport sectors, and three regional municipalities.

As the entity responsible for supporting the growth and urban development of Abu Dhabi Emirate, the DMT guides, regulates and monitors urban development activities. The expert authority improves municipal work to provide comprehensive services and creates higher living standards for residents through the supervision and management of the municipalities.

The DMT ensures the highest standards of safety, security, sustainability and technological developments of land, air and maritime transport networks of the Emirate, in line with the highest international standards and UAE legislation.

One of the DMT’s top priorities is to fulfil the vision of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, which draws on the vision of our UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan